When you carve out valuable time in your day to head to the gym is your goal to punish a body you hate, or reward a body you love? My sister, an award-winning PE curriculum writer would explain, children should not be punished with running a lap or doing sit-ups but should be given them as rewards so that we see the potential of human movement for what it truly is. A gift.
With this gift comes a responsibility often handed over to doctors, pills or couches, but also to “Health clubs” and “Gyms”. The fitness industry is being thankfully re-defined. I ask that you be leery of facilities that take you from sitting at your desk to sitting on a machine in the name of fitness; it’s movement insanity. In order to create movement that is joy we need to take a body and unfold it, nurture its abilities, and give it a freedom to perform.
We need to reward its enviable potential with movement in multiple planes. Draw out its grace and integrity. We are not made simply of muscle. We are a beautiful array of interconnected fibers… Ligaments tendons myofascia – all working collaboratively and with a synchronicity that results in movement. Tap into this world and be rewarded with added energy, fluidity, balance and ability.
Even as far back as 2013 the New York Times posted articles about the dying trend of machines in the fitness industry with a much-needed shift to towards functional training. They quoted Mens Health director Adam Campbell saying “What’s the real logic of sitting or lying down to train your legs?” Think about their purpose, supporting and moving the body, and it doesn’t take a sports science degree to see the irony.
Just the other day the AMPD team was discussing how new of a science Sports Performance truly is. I was fortunate to be at Birmingham University, England during its early era as a discipline for study. Subsequently, I have been able to have a career pursuing the science and logic necessary to help athletes maximize their performance by perfecting human movement at its core. Pun intended. Our premise has to be that we are all athletes, and our level of performance can be enhanced (depending on our ability so that we can get out of a chair unaided, throw ball with our kids, or compete in the next Olympics) with equal diligence.
There needs to be an honest, directed, studious and continual assessment of the body’s ability to move. If the body doesn’t move in harmonious and fluid ways, there would be little sense behind strengthening such a dysfunction. Give it what it craves – movement – and start an exponential growth of muscular joy. Freed from its confines behind a desk, from repetitive action, from limited motion, from stagnant lifestyles, we can begin to bring it joy and make a painful, overfed, under-nourished or misunderstood body experience a whole new usefulness – one that loves to move, craves to move, and has an unbridled energy.
Step away from your confines. As the Perform Better Summit had printed on their summit T-shirts “Stop exercising, Start training”. The days of “No pain, no gain” are over. It’s all about taking a deep breath and pushing your body to where it couldn’t go yesterday, while eagerly looking forward to where it can go tomorrow. Quit “working out”. Quit going through the torture of a workout on static machine/s. Start training. Train for life, train for joy, and most of all train with intent. Find your WHY. Hone in on your reason and get guidance and support from someone who can help you get there. Remember. Movement is joy. If it isn’t then we’ve got some work to do.